September 22, 2009

Back of the House: South Grand Gyro Express

Owners Kahled and Tamana Nagshbandi, natives of Afghanistan, met in St. Louis, got married in 2007. Read Ian Froeb's review, "Gyro Scoop." Photos by Jennifer Silverberg.
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Owners Kahled (foreground) and Tamana Nagshbandi. Kahled is quite the storyteller -- during the shoot he regaled me with stories of his past and his extended family that still live in Kabul, Afghanistan. His father had been a police officer in Afghanistan for 25 years, however his family fled to Russia because of the Taliban, and then later cam e to the United States.
Owners Kahled (foreground) and Tamana Nagshbandi. Kahled is quite the storyteller -- during the shoot he regaled me with stories of his past and his extended family that still live in Kabul, Afghanistan. His father had been a police officer in Afghanistan for 25 years, however his family fled to Russia because of the Taliban, and then later cam e to the United States.
Along side the chicken are grilled tomatoes for the dish. The chicken kabob is then served with white basmati rice.
Along side the chicken are grilled tomatoes for the dish. The chicken kabob is then served with white basmati rice.
South Grand Gyro Express is located at 5622 South Grand Boulevard near Carondelet Park.
South Grand Gyro Express is located at 5622 South Grand Boulevard near Carondelet Park.
Kahled and Tamana put together three Special Gyro Sandwiches.
Kahled and Tamana put together three Special Gyro Sandwiches.
Once hot enough, Kahled slices the meat off the spit and brings it to the stove to sauté with onions in his secret sauce.
Once hot enough, Kahled slices the meat off the spit and brings it to the stove to sauté with onions in his secret sauce.
Tamana and Kahled in the kitchen at South Grand Gyro Express. They are open seven days a week. During the days it’s just them, in the afternoon, after school, they have one employee (a high school student) who comes in to lend a hand. Being eight months pregnant doesn’t seem to have slowed Tamana down too much.
Tamana and Kahled in the kitchen at South Grand Gyro Express. They are open seven days a week. During the days it’s just them, in the afternoon, after school, they have one employee (a high school student) who comes in to lend a hand. Being eight months pregnant doesn’t seem to have slowed Tamana down too much.
After all that food and conversation, it was time for dessert. The homemade Baklava, drizzled with a chocolate sauce.
After all that food and conversation, it was time for dessert. The homemade Baklava, drizzled with a chocolate sauce.
One of the appetizer favorites is the eggplant. It is cooked with fresh tomato and Afghani seasoning and served with pita bread.
One of the appetizer favorites is the eggplant. It is cooked with fresh tomato and Afghani seasoning and served with pita bread.
Preparing some kabobs… This is the chicken for the chicken kabaob entrée. The chicken is prepared in an Afghani marinade with Spices.
Preparing some kabobs… This is the chicken for the chicken kabaob entrée. The chicken is prepared in an Afghani marinade with Spices.
Tamana warms the pitas on the stove. It is the final step before constructing the first entrée on the menu, the Special Gyro Sandwich. Tamana’s story is not so different from Kahled’s: Her father had been a journalist in Afghanistan and her mother was a teacher of literature. Like Kahled’s family, he took his family to Russia via Pakistan and Tajikistan to flee the Taliban, before eventually coming to the United States.
Tamana warms the pitas on the stove. It is the final step before constructing the first entrée on the menu, the Special Gyro Sandwich. Tamana’s story is not so different from Kahled’s: Her father had been a journalist in Afghanistan and her mother was a teacher of literature. Like Kahled’s family, he took his family to Russia via Pakistan and Tajikistan to flee the Taliban, before eventually coming to the United States.